Battle Mountain soccer hosts Lewis-Palmer in quarters
Kickoff at 1 p.m.
Welcome to the quarters.
Battle Mountain soccer hosts Lewis-Palmer today at 1 p.m. in the Elite Eight of the 4A state playoffs. Huskies fans would probably prefer a non-dramatic win for their blood pressure’s sake.
But history dictates otherwise. The program has played some of its most memorable games during the quarterfinals, and one of them has to be a candidate for the “Greatest Game Ever.”
A look back:
District 20 Stadium
For a while, this pitch was as infamous as Glenwood Springs’ Stubler Memorial Field. Battle Mountain’s 2004 and 2005 seasons came to an end here. Liberty, on its way to becoming a 5A school, crushed Battle Mountain, 4-0, in 2004 in the second round.
In 2005, Battle Mountain beat Evergreen, 5-3, and Cheyenne Mountain, 3-1, on Edgar Hernandez hat tricks. Quite frankly, I didn’t remember the Huskies beating Evergreen before 2012.
However, it happened, the Huskies went to District 20 Stadium for the quarters and lost to Pine Creek, also now a 5A school, 3-1. It stunk at the time, but the 2004 and 2005 teams raised the bar for teams to come. Hernandez, who scored in the loss against Pine Creek for seven goals in three games, also remains one of the more clutch performers in the program’s history.
An older head coach David Cope-ism is, “You validate their successes by documenting their failures.” Boy, did this one hurt.
No. 3 Battle Mountain hosted No. 11 Standley Lake in a seemingly favorable matchup for the home team on Nov. 7, 2015, except that …
Battle Mountain junior defender Miles Joersz scored an own goal. Then goalie Jack Skidmore had an errant clear, leaving an open net for the visitors.
Goalie coach Jim Glendining has said that this game was the driving force for the 2016 run to the state final, but, at the time, this was just devastating. If you didn’t ache for those two players, you just weren’t human.
The bracket blew up in 2016, allowing the No. 9 Huskies to host the quarters against D’Evelyn. Who knew that only the chaos was just beginning?
Perhaps in a bit of cosmic retribution for the aforementioned loss to Standley Lake, Battle Mountain was down 2-0 to the Jaguars with 23 minutes left. Juan Macias scored twice and Creek Kamby found the back of the net with 1:42 left for a miraculous 3-2 victory.
“I think the main thing was, in order to set us up for the semifinal, we wanted to put ourselves in a hole,” Cope said at the time. “So we did that twice.”
The slightly-edited chant of, “Let’s go nuts,” kept going until the state final later that season.
The Cougars were the bane of Battle Mountain’s existence, eliminating the Huskies in 2009, 2010 and 2011, the last in the quarterfinals. Despite a 15-0 record in 2012, Battle Mountain was the No. 6 seed and naturally had to go through Evergreen (No. 3).
Every year is a different journey, but this was “The Game.” Yes, the Huskies won on kicks as Christian Espinoza cemented his legend status, but they were simply the better team.
During the second half, a Front Range referee ran by Cope and said, “You guys are good,” apparently surprised that a mountain team could play high-level soccer.
Yes, there were still two games to go — Broomfield and Palmer Ridge — but this was the one that put the Huskies over the top.
And, as we’ve noted previously, the 2019 team probably doesn’t give a fig about history, so let’s see what memories the Huskies make today.